Back in the day, you couldn’t see a black film or TV show without spotting the same crop of actors: Denzel, Halle, Angela, Larenz, Will, and Nia. And while the numbers of black actors we see on film continue to increase, it’s usually the same few garnering the majority of roles. And although I love seeing Taraji, Idris, Kerry, Thandie, and Morris like the next woman, I am itching to see some new faces on screen.
When BET announced it was partnering with Mara Brock-Akil on a new hour-long dramedy about a single, talk show host in Atlanta, I was curious to see who would snag the role. Film vet Gabrielle Union was tapped to star in the series, and although she’s a decent actress, I was a little disappointed BET and the Akils didn’t give a newbie a shot to carry the show. Similarly, when NBC announced it was piloting a nighttime soap opera about a cop who goes undercover in her rich family to solve a murder, they announced Meagan Good, an experience TV and film vet, would be anchoring the show.
While I’m certainly not complaining about seeing more black faces on TV, I wonder why when it comes to actors of color, new folks rarely an opportunity to shine, while their untested white counterparts seem to get a shot at starring roles.
In our bid to see more diversity on screen are is Hollywood doing us a disservice by just showcasing the same group of black actors over and over again and not cultivating fresh, new talent?
Speak on it, Clutchettes!